Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module SPAN3381: Spanish Cinema from the 1940s until Now

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Spanish)

SPAN3381: Spanish Cinema from the 1940s until Now

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • Spanish Language 2A or 2B (or equivalent for BA in VAF students)


  • Spanish Language 4 (or equivalent for BA in VAF students)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop the students' research skills
  • To develop the students' ability to analyse and criticise filmic texts
  • To consolidate and refine the theoretical concepts learned by students in previous years, especially within the fields of Film, Gender, Sexuality and Race Studies and to place this in the wider context of Cultural Studies
  • To expand the students' knowledge of contemporary Spanish culture, society and history and to examine their implications in the wider European and global contexts


  • This course covers aspects of 20th C and 21st C Spanish History and Culture with specific focus in cinema but in the wider context of pre- and post-Franco Spanish society, history and politics
  • Students will become familiar with important issues such as national stereotypes, contested national identities within Spain, Iberian Identity, European integration, violence, trauma, race, immigration and changing gender and sexual identities, as well as relevant concepts in Film Studies such as cinematic genre, spectatorship, sound, editing and the star system
  • The module will focus on up to ten key, classic Spanish films of the last 80 years or so

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module, students will be expected to:
  • recognise the importance of contemporary Spanish cinema (including key male and female filmmakers, films, stars) and identities in the wider context of Europe and its relation/opposition to mainstream Hollywood and other cinemas
  • understand the socio-political evolution of Spain and its autonomous regions
  • understand key issues for the study of 20th and 21st centuries Spain: gender and national stereotypes, machismo, the Civil War, the post-war years, Francoism, emigration and immigration, race, rural/industrial Spain, Spain in European and global contexts
  • critically assess the moving image and stereotypical depictions of Spain
  • manage with confidence new concepts and terminology in the fields of Film, Gender, Nation, Race, Sexuality Studies and, more generally, cultural theory
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students will be expected to:
  • think critically about the ways in which films represent society in general and Spanish society in particular
  • think critically about diverse forms of identity (gender, national, racial, sexual)
  • critically analyse films (including technical aspects of filmmaking and subject-specific terminology)
  • write about film with clarity and sophistication, using subject-specific language and academic writing style
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students should:
  • develop research skills
  • develop excellent analytical skills (including visual texts and especially moving image)
  • develop writing skills appropriate to finalist level
  • develop teamwork, leadership skills
  • develop presentation skills
  • enhance time management, IT, organisational, leadership and team-work skills (all essential for the presentation)

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught throughout the academic year in term 1 on a ‘short-fat' basis
  • Lectures (two hours once weekly) will deliver key information about the module
  • A weekly seminar with smaller groups will allow for individual/pairs/group presentations and active discussions about the films and key reading
  • There will be lectures and seminars aimed to practise the key skills, including film analysis
  • The module will be assessed by a mixture of methods that will include class presentations, film analysis assignments and a research essay at the end of the module
  • This format responds to student feedback gained in SSCC and NSS responses

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 2 Hour 20
Seminars 10 Weekly 1 Hour 10
Student preperation and reading time 170
Total SLAT hours (20 credits 200, 40 credits 400) 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Group presentation Component Weighting: 15%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Presentations in pairs or small groups during seminar time 5 mins per student (equivalent of approximately 700 words) 100% No
Component: Film analysis assignment Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Film analysis assignment (take-away paper) 1,300 words 100% No
Component: Research essay Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research essay 3,000 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Seminar participation

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University